University of Michigan receives $130 million for electric vehicle center
The State of Michigan has given final approval for a $130 million electric vehicle center at the University of Michigan.
Alan Taub is an engineering professor and former auto industry executive. He’ll be leading the center which greatly expands on battery research in collaboration with manufacturers and suppliers. He said they’ve been talking with auto industry leaders to find the best way to help them complete the transition to electric vehicles.
“What do they really need to make sure that our new battery electric vehicles are reliable, cost efficient, and what do they need in terms of workforce to pull this off?”
Besides expanding on current research, the U of M center will retrain automotive engineers who’ve chiefly had a background in internal combustion vehicles. There’s work to do before electric cars and trucks are competitive in price and performance with internal combustion engines.
“We have to ensure that we get there both on fast-charging, life of battery as well as the other components,” Taub said.
Beyond collaboration with the industry and training personnel, the University of Michigan Electric Vehicle Center students and faculty will conduct some of their own research and development.
“The ability to come up with some novel solutions and then collaborate with the industries to bring them home, as well as many of our faculty do startups based on their technology developments and those startups enter the commercial sector,” Taub said.
With the layoffs and disruption that the shift in auto technology is causing, Taub said retraining workers and improving the technology quickly will help smooth the transition.
The bulk of auto sales are still internal combustion powered vehicles. The switch to electric is still in its very early years.